DIY USB DMX Interface for under $10

The DMX protocol is the same as the RS485 protocol, so we can use any RS485 USB converter to control DMX devices. DMX controllers are usually not that cheap, using this guide, you save money for possibly a hardware midi controller for your lighting software.

Required Parts

Click HERE to view a second similar DMX Interface guide using an Ethernet cable that does work out of the box.

If you are not good at soldering (because you will need a fix to make the device send DMX) you could always buy the cheapest controller i found: Dealextreme

Before connecting to your computer, make sure to install all latest updates (old windows driver may brick your device), also only use the Windows driver as the official ftdi driver bricks your device.

Basically, all the RS485 converters based on an FTDI FT232 Chip will work. I used following device:




Now you will need the connection to XLR:


Dealextreme #1

Dealextreme #2 #1 #2 #3

You will also need an enclosure, be creative or buy a small hobby/universal enclosure somewhere, I bought:
“Waterproof ABS Plastic Enclosure” and used my glue gun to keep the board in place.

Installation / Wiring

RS4855pinterminal RS4853pinterminal

The RS485 converter has (at least) 3 connectors:
A or Tx+ or +Data or +ve
B or Tx- or -Data or -ve
(optional) 5V or VCC
(optional) Rx-
(optional) Rx+

We only need the first 3 connections which are the basic connections for sending RS485(DMX) signal.


the connections of the XLR/DMX plug are:
1: Ground/GND
2: Data-
3: Data+

Now it’s simple, just connect the corresponding ground and data outputs and your DMX Dongle is ready:

  • Connect GND of your RS485 to pin #1 of your XLR
  • Data-/TX- of your RS485 goes to pin #2 of you XLR
  • Data+/TX+ of your RS485 goes to pin #3 of your XLR


Try to keep these wires as short as possible, long wires may add extra interference… if experiencing problems, try twisting the data+ and data- wires.

Not all devices seem to work out of the box, below is a Fix for those devices that are not sending DMX:

Fix - Change FTDI Pinout settings

+Fix driver issues: Guide

+Try terminating your DMX chain, this may solve your problems.

There are 2(3) fixes:


The second guide requires soldering and should only be tried if the first option did not fix your board:


Please leave a comment on the fix you tried. It would be a great help for anyone having problems with this board.

NEW UNTESTED FIX, Please try & report.

I recently got a reply from “Pepe” suggesting a new fix that may mostly fix unstable DMX adapters.



Hi Steven I bought this one and is working….

and i see a curios thing there is two shorded pins (as i remember i try to short some pins to get continuos work. maybe that was that case that was working for me)
and i ataching a diagram ( be careful of that hole a lot of time is leters in other orientacion then on diagram ( you can test it by shorting reset and vcc) so maybe this is a another fix( for those wich get it work for few minutes and then it fail)

Ps a AGDD+test pin are conected to maing ground ( GDN + PWR Led (a GDN side)

Hopefuly this will help”


Video Tutorial by Absolete Frosty

I would like to Thank “Absolete Frosty” for making a very detailed English video tutorial for this guide.

Part #1 – Hardware:

Part #2 – Software:

Absolete Frosty’s Youtube Channel 

Compatible Software

Windows : The best free software available(for windows) is Freestyler DMX, download and install  HERE.

Freestyler DMX Loadscreen

Now in settings choose the interface “Enttec open DMX“.. this device is based on a RS485 and works with any RS485 device.


Now click save, add your fixtures and start programming your show.

Other Software : 

Mac : QLC+, Download Here. Personally, i find this the easiest,best program there is for free.

***Other compatible software :
Martin M-Series Software + (Fixture Library)
(Mac Appstore)JV Lightning DmxControl free and pro

Before reading these F.A.Q, read the official F.A.Q on entec’s site:

DMX Signal randomly stops:
– Try plugging your DMX Adapter in a POWERED! hub (with external power supply) this may fix random stops.

What software can i use? :

Drivers? :
The FTPI chip should work without manual driver installation, if the default windows drivers aren’t working for you you can try downloading & installing these drivers:

Normal LED behavior :
Plugged in, not sending : Red Led
Pugged in & Sending : Red Led ON & Green LED Flashing

Small,quick and easy test software?: DMX Tester

QLC+ won’t work:
The mavericks update broke DMX output on mac’s, you need to replace your FTDI driver with an older version.

Other problems try these:
– Try on different computers & always try the windows driver first.
– (laptop) Try unplugging the power adapter & try again
– When trying, only use 1 DMX light, if this works try adding more lights to the chain.
– more solutions in comments below.

Board : rs485board

Sending DMX :

Comfirmed not working RS485 adapters :
Pro 5ft. USB to RS485-RS422 Converter with FTDI Chip
Prolific USB to serial adapter (uses pl2303)
Any MAX485 Adapter : (image provided by marmil)

Reader creations

Photo’s of your creation can be mailed to :, these images will be added to this post to help other users create their device.


Discussions on this post continue in this Forum

485 thoughts on “DIY USB DMX Interface for under $10

  1. I’ve been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be much more useful than ever before.

    • lageoi have a small project thats ruinnng 5 RBG strips and several white LED strips. i’ve been using the Dmx master shield to drive my dimmer board. It seemed to be working fine for a day and a half and then the other morning i went to turn it on, the power indicator lit up, but its not sending dmx to the dimmer. not knowing what else to do, i pluged a new one in, it worked great, problem solved, 10 minuets latter it also stopped sending. i’m totaly perplexed. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

      • i will need more info if you want me to help you…

      • You will probably have two RS485 drivers active at the same time. In general only the USB-RS485 converter should be driving the DMX signal, all other DMX products should only have their receiver enabled, and their RS485 driver disabled. In most cases this is a hardware input to the RS485 chip, and when left unconnected (open) the behaviour of the chip cannot be predicted. Check the datasheet of the RS485 chip and make sure that the driver is disabled.

  2. I just try to make that, because I have some usb-485 FT232RL converters, but FreeStyler returns a problem to make it works and I don’t know how to use DMX Control (I don’t speak german).
    I want to try this “USB-DMX” conversor to control a wall washer that have an DMX input, do you know how I can do it?

      • Hi I saw this and really needed a DMX interface so I bought the board and put it together just as in the instuctions. When i plug it in,PW light turns on, when i open Qlights, RX light turns on and my mini par that i’m testing it with starts flashing about every two or three seconds. I once got it to work and could control it RGB for a few seconds, but even then it still flashed white every few seconds. Tried the FT-Prog on my old windowsXP but the program doesn’t recognize it. I wanted to ask if you had any ideas before I start soldering it up.

        • not sure what the problem is but i don’t think soldering will fix it. Looks like some interference problem… how long are the wires from your board to your female/xlr adapter?

  3. My RS485 – USB from the first (eBay) link you posted is ordered about 2 weeks ago. I think I get it in 2 weeks.
    I’ll let you know if it work! Thanks for this very usefull post.

  4. Yesterday I received my RS485 – USB thing (first eBay link). I already had a XLR connector for building the complete into a box.
    I connected the xlr to the rs485 -usb, and plugged it into my PC. There was shining 1 light from the usb thing. I started up Freestyler and I choose Enttec Open DMX. Huh, it says there wasn’t a adapter plugged in. I plugged a dmx cable in the adapter and putted the dmx cable into a mushroom. It was on te right channel. After I had done that a second light goes on.
    But still freestyler didn’t saw a adapter. Also if i select Enttec Pro dmx and click on the usbchannel it was in it didn’t work. But when I select the enttec pro there was blinking another green light.
    I still haven’t got it working. I think I need some drivers. Can anyone help me? I already installed the drivers from the enttec site but that doesn’t changed a thing.

    • In Windows Device Manager, is there a “USB Serial Port(Com x)” under “Ports (COM & LPT)”? If not, you have to install the FTDI driver that came on the CD of the RS485. In Freestyler, this will only work with the Enttec Open DMX, not with the Pro.

      • There is a category ‘unknown’ and there stands ‘USB-SERIAL CH340 (COM3)’. There were not any drivers in the package, i contacted the company from ebay and send me a link for a drivers. But after install nothing changed.
        Even after reboot, Freestyler says by Enttec open DMX: ‘No USB->DMX found’.
        Maybe you can help me with Teamviewer or something?

  5. I want to use Q light Control. It’s free open source. I assume your device will work. For $10 or so it’ll be fun trying.Just thought I’d ask.

  6. OOPS! I see it’s one of the recommended apps. Cool. I have the part on order.Thanks

  7. Great Resource! Thanks for sharing.

    Do you remember where you bought your enclosure from?

    It looks really nice and looks like a perfect size

    • I can’t remember where i bought the enclosure, but you should find similar enclosures when googling for hobby or universal enclosures.

  8. I ordered all the parts today not sure if its going to work out or not . Can somebody tell me they have tried it and it is working fine . Thanks

  9. Hi, first thanks for this tutorial… it’s great.
    Second, i’ve bought and done all things like you say, but i cannot put my led can doing anything.

    I’ve checked all inside software QLC Plus and with correct addresses and all. QLC+ connects correctly to RS485 without any error. But the led can does not light 🙁
    1- I’m not using a XLR terminator, can this be the cause? (i already bought on and is comming)
    2- Is somehow needed to have more power in USB? I don’t think so, because RS485 connects ok, but… don’t know.

    • It should work if you did the wiring right:
      -Have you tried Freestyler DMX yet?
      -Have you tried another pc/laptop?
      -Have you tried manually installing drivers :

      The DMX terminator shouldn’t be the problem since i’m using mine without terminator aswell.

      • I only had my PC and with Linux, so Freestyler was out my possibilities. I will try next weekend with a friend’s PC, also with windows and i will report back here.

  10. What type of wire is being used to connect the DMX Plug to the RS485? please advise 🙂

    • The wires are not really fat. They are thin. I’ve just extracted them from a old power switch i had from an old PC. hmmm, if that could be the problem i will get other wires. Does You know thin wires can give problems?

      • shouldn’t be a wire problem but solid cables are recommended for data transfer, don’t use stranded wires.

        • More then likely you’ve done exactly what I did.Even though there are only 3 connections the diagram is confusing. I had mine wired backwards and I suspect you do too.Leave the middle wire were it is and swap positions of the 2 outer wires and see if this doesn’t fix it.Steven needs to make this diagram more clear. it’s a great project and I fear some folks think it’s not because they can’t get it going.

  11. I bought a ftdi friend from MCM Electronics. Connections are RTS, RX, TX, VCC, CTS, GND. I have looked all over the net and cannot figure out which connections correspond to your design. Any help would be great. Thanks

      • I bought my device on It arrived today. on the back of the pannel I see the letters from top to bottom ” P ” then in the middle ” A ” and on the bottom ” GND” .
        I dont see rx or tx. A could be positive gnd is ground. What could be the A in the middle?
        I am affraid I will damage something . gnd to pin 1 is no problem. what next??

        • you can’t do damage but you should just copy my wires from the image in the post, i assume the board stil has the same wiring except for the letters printed on it

  12. okay so I ordered every thing and the computer and program recognized the device , but I do not know how t use the program FreeStyler. I would appreciate a lot of help Thanks

    • Search youtube for some tutorial video’s. these should help you getting started in Freestyler.

  13. I didn’t care for Freestyler. I use QLC+
    I find it more intuitive.

    • indeed, I used freestyler for a long time, bought mac and installed QLC+. I will probably never use freestyler again 🙂

  14. We got some problems with FTDI FT232 Chip. The lights on the chip all work and blink when we use the chip, and freestyler also sends out the correct output (or at least some output), but none of the lights we used reacted to the DMX signal. We used two Ibiza Light lmh 300’s and an Eurolite kls 401. Both light are compitable with DMX512. We have actually used both before with a dmx controller and both worked. First time we tried with stranded wires, now we changed the wires and build a case for it, but still no result. What could the problem be? Or is the chip just broken?

  15. Still no luck making it work 🙁
    How exactly are the adapter LEDs supposed to behave?

    When I connect the adapter to USB, a red “PW” LED lights up – that’s correct, I suppose.
    When I start FreeStyler or e.g. the KMTronic test software ) a blue “RX” LED starts flashing rapidly – is this correct or not?
    Now, whatever I try to do with the DMX channels (e.g. moving the sliders in the KMTronic test), the attached fixture does not do anything, the blue “TX” LED flashes still the same, the “RX” LED does nothing.

    Is there anything I need to set, like baud rate or so?
    This is really frustrating…

  16. I had the same Problem.

    I found out that the problem is the signal “DE” – pin.3 of 75176.
    The rising of “DE” is too late. Because of that dmx data packet is not complete.

    “DE” and “/RE” are connected to “CBUS2” – pin.13 of FT232RL;
    compare with the schematic of enttec openDMX
    ==> “DE” and “/RE” are connected to “RTS”.

    Here is my solution:
    – lift off pin.2 and pin.3 of 75176 from solder pads
    – connect these 2 pins to +5v pin.8 of 75176
    – driver is now always enabled

    Tested with QLC+ on OSX 10.7.5 :: OK.

    See also:

  17. I bought mine from It must be a little different. When sending it has a blue RX led flashing and it didn’t send a dmx signal right out of the box. The production date was 2013/06/4. Maybe this will help others in the future.

  18. Just got two from Dealextreme and they both work out of the box. Thanks again for this tutorial Steven!

  19. Hi, I bought the RS485 from ebay, connected to computer, red power led illuminates, installed Freestyler and blue led flashes rapidly. The problem I had was my RGBW Par 64 light was wired inverted, so until I swapped the D+ and D- the LED light did not work. Next problem is now trying to make the light work correctly as I don’t have a DMX table for it. When selecting a random fitting in Freestyler some colour changing and strobe occurs but I cannot get proper control of the LED PAR 64.

    • I have now fixed the problem, I too had to remove pin 2,3 and tie to Vcc. Now works fantastic….thanks everyone.

  20. I cant get this to control my light fixture, I have the Stage ape Phoenix Scanners only 4 Channels I have tried Freestyler, and I have tried a few others, I am trying Q light Controller now but I cant get it to talk to my light I have the scanner set up correctly in the fixture editor…

  21. I really need tomthank you Steven!
    This was one of the best/most usefull articles/instructions in the web i could find!
    Evenso i could that freakin’ üroblem where u have to lift pin 2 and 3 of the rs485 chip.
    But now everything works great and it’s sooo small and don’t even cost me 15€!
    Thank u a lot!

  22. Hello Everyone!
    I fixed board, but i have a little problem! First chanel mising. Each unit responds from 2 to 512 channel…no first channel!? I tried a second (brand name) interface and everything is OK.

    If someone had a similar experience?
    Best regards!!

  23. Has anyone been able to confirm if this controller will work with Artemis bridge simulator? I got the Enttec Open DMX controller, which works great. But I don’t want to spend another $70 for another controller…

    • if your Enttec Open DMX is working with “Artemis bridge simulator” this device will also work, since it’s almost the same as the Enttec Open DMX

  24. I bought two of the boards from deal extreme sku 901221402. I hope these are the right ones and will work out of the box. am i correct in my selection?

    • they should work out of the box, however if not… there are fix guides on my website.

  25. Hi,
    i got a converter with FTDI chip.. red light is on, and green “rx” light is flashing (so it should be sending signal)…drivers are installed properly, “USB Serial Port(Com 3)” under “Ports (COM & LPT)” and “USB Serial Converter” under “Controller USB (Universal Serial Bus)”; I also tried the dmx test from KMtronic and it said both successfully passed…anyway the light connected doesn’t work (i tried a led bar and a par 56, both not working) .. any suggestion? Thanks

    • It may be your board, you should tried any of the Fixes? it seems most boards come “not working”. There is also a second guide with an ethernet cable, this dongle seems to work out of the box.

      • I didn’t try any of the fixes because i thought the converter was working (green light flashing and also the test succeeded) but if you haven’t any other advice i’ll try…

        • this is normal behavior, the green led flashing is the data from the USB, however this data does not reach the output of the RS485 without the fix 🙂

          • Applied both the fixes, now it works 🙂 thanks Steven!

  26. Version 2013/06/4 board working if lifting the DE / RE pin from the board… thank you so much!!!!!!!!!

  27. First off, Great Guides, this is perfect for people moving from consoles to PC software. I’m having a problem that I’m not seeing anyone else having. I got the RS485 Converter, I connected the XLR panel connector, using CAT5e cable, fired up QLC, connected my lights, and everything works. I have 2 Chauvet 4Bars, 2 Chauvet 4Plays, and 8 ADJ Mega Par Profiles connected; with a DMX terminator at the end of the chain.

    Everything works perfectly, until I open Google Chrome or any DAW software. When I open these programs, the 4Bars and the Mega Pars stop working; but the 4Plays still work fine. When I close said programs, the lights resume functionality.

    The DMX signal is outputting, according to the QLC DMX Monitor, and the data light on the RS485 converter, plus the effect lights in the middle of the DMX chain still work. It appears the RGB lights are not getting “something” (in reference to DMX signal) they need when I open other programs.

    Any suggestions, ideas, or comments would be great. The hole purpose of me building this is to automate lights to music via MIDI, but if the lights don’t work when the DAW software is open, then I can’t do that.

    I’ve tried this on 2 computers and two laptops (All windows 7 Professional, 3 of them x64 and 1 x86). I’ve tried just about every software compatible with the Enttec Open DMX USB, and I have connected each fixture one at a time… Same result.

    Thanks in advance!

    • Very weird problem, have you tried connecting the dmx adapter to a Powered USB hub?
      Also try disconnecting all other usb devices and try again…
      And are your laptop and lights powered by the same circuit/fuse? different circuits may create interferrence…
      Have you tried changing the USB cable? maybe to a cable with ferrite beads on the ends:

      • Thanks for the response. I have tried all of what you suggested except the ferrite bead isb cable. I will try that when I get back. But everything is on its own circuit. I’ll post back after I’ve tried the usb cable. Thanks again.

      • Ok, so I tried a couple of usb cables with ferrite beads. The rgb lights still stop responding however now, the single pars will continue with whatever signal it was receiving before opening the other software; and the 4bar will turn off the start flashing all white.

        With this consistent change, does that suggest a frequency problem in my signal? But then again, the 4play effects lights are not experiencing an issue. This is weird indeed.

        Oh and the same behavior happens with and without the terminator at the end of the chain.

        Any new thoughts with this new information?

        • I’im still thinking of an interference problem, how long are the cables between the rs485-out and the XLR? you can try twisting the data- and data+

          i do recognize the white flashing led pars, or fixtures getting random values but this usualy gets fixed when i plug in my usb cable or start my DMX app.
          not sure what’s the problem with your setup :s

          • I twisted the d -/+ cables, but nothing changed. I messed around a little more, just trying different things, and it just throws me off. For example:

            The rgb’s stop responding when I open google chrome, but work fine if I open internet explorer.

            They stop responding when I open any of my DAW programs, but not when I open some standalone VST programs.

            When clicking through folders, they flicker.

            So, I am wondering how does the activity on the computer relate to the signal from QLC thru the USB cable, thru the converter, and out the XLR, maintaining enough data integrity for the effects lights to work, but not the rgb’s.

            I don’t know much about all of this, I’m going off my programming and troubleshooting knowledge at this point. There is obviously something I’m missing. I’ll keep messing around with it. If I come up with anything, I’ll post back. If you or anyone else can think of something, please let me know.

            Thanks for all your help, I really appreciate it.

  28. Could be dodgy cable? Microphone cables are not (NOT!?) suitable for DMX. I’ve done tests with a signal generator and oscilloscope to try various cables and some are no good. The frequency is very high (MHz range for a clean square wave).

    • indeed, to tell the difference between microphone and DMX XLR cable, read the printed text on the cable itself, DMX should say DMX/DATA cable and audio should say something like Microphone/MC. for small setups audio cables seem to work but for long and large setups you definately need Data cable. i usually mark my DMX cables with a small white cable tie at the XLR connectors to keep them spearated from the audio cables.

  29. Thanks for chiming in. I am using DMX cable. I’ve tested their resistance but I don’t have the tools and know to test frequencies as you have. But the cables work just fine when the lights are being controlled by a DMX Console.

    • This can work work but no way to tell for sure without testing first, but i think 4$ is worth the try :p,

    • can’t find FTDI anywhere in the description, the chip must be FTDI, cheaper brands won’t work for DMX.

  30. Hi Steven! I bought the board from Dealextreme. The board worked out of the box, but unfortunately it sends the DMX protocol in a peculiar way. Channel one for example has to be red on my “American DJ” lights, but instead they flicker through a wide range of colors as I change the value of the first channel. I tried the suggested fixes – the board stopped working at all. I noticed thou that the chip on my board is not DS75176B, but a ZT485EEN one. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Sorry to bother you again. After I tried again the second soldering modification the board started working properly! Thank you for this amazing DIY project!

  31. Hello,
    I´ll try it with USB to Serial with FTDi Chip. Freestyler sees the adaptor. Now my question, my adaptor has usb and other side a 9 pin connector. Am i right if i try with the pins 2 received Data, 3 Transmit data and pin 5 Signal Ground? or do i have to use other pins?

  32. Thanks for the fast reply.
    But i need to know which 3 pins from Sub D 9 to the XLR Plug.

    • I think i have to use pin 3, 5 and 7. So i got some signals out. But i can not change any values on my LED Flood 150 from Stairville. It lights up and sometimes it flickers. But no color changing or dimming. and no blackout. the fixture is tested

      • Now i figured out that i can change some Coulours. If i slide RGB and Master Dimmer. But totally crazy reactions. All Faders change all coulours. in some Positions i have all Coulours, sometimes blue and so on.
        I Think there must something be incorrect with the Signal i get out. I No Use the Pins 3, 5, 7. 5 is Gound. If i Turn 3 and 7 no Signal goes out.

        If I Use Pin 2 and 3 also no Signal goes out. So maybe i´ve to use other ports or need another piece that ports the 232 to a 485 Signal. But like i Wrote, freestyler sees my USB to Serial. The Workaround with the Software from FTDI is also tried. The Other Workaround with Soldering is not possible because my USB To Serial is a closed Plug.
        Maybe you have any Ideas?

  33. Sorry I haven’t posted back, I’ve been on the road. To recap in a nutshell, the interface works fine until I open google chrome my DAW software. At which point, certain lights stop responding to the DMX signal.

    So I’ve tested my interface on an old XP laptop, and low and be hold, it worked perfectly. Unfortunately this doesn’t really solve my problem, because all my other software needs to be ran on windows 7; so I need to figure out why I get this behavior on my Win7 computer and not on my WinXP laptop… Any suggestions would be great.


  34. Great idea! I really was surprised by how cheap you can diy compared to their normal price… But I have a question which is really important for me to me answered: Is it possible to use this interface as a DMX input? I would like to merge my signal with another one…
    Thanks in advance and sorry for my weak english!

  35. I think you should only have an rs485 Interface with in and out. normally every interface should have this. ists only the question if the interface has all pins wired.

  36. How do you get the DIY USB connected to QLC+. It will not output to the DMX fixtures. The USB DMX works with Freestyler and connects fine and it sees it in QLC+but it will not output to the DMX light. I have did all the pin moving and pin wiring. How do you get it to flash the light showing the signal is sending in QLC+.

      • I have it working now. I had to go inside and check input/output for the USB FTDI adapter. Now it works like a charm. Thanks. I was trying to use the Freestyler program but it was to complicated. Im using the QLC+. It is much easier and has tons of functions.

  37. Hey, I was wondering if you’ve ever seen a problem with the packets it sends out? What I’m seeing from freestyler is a very short ‘Break’ followed by an exceptionally long Mark-After-Break’, and no Start sequence at all. Seeing that with Freestyler and KMTronic DMX Device tester

      • I just tried it there. I wasn’t clear on what it’s actually supposed to fix, but it hasn’t made any difference whatever it does.

        The problem I’m experiencing seems to be that I have no ‘Break’. My Start frame is also a bit in front of the rest of my frames, and that gap appears to vary slightly between packets.

        Here’s a trace of my A + B RS485 lines from the USB device:

  38. Hey everyone.
    I’m having a little problem, everything seems two work fine until I connect more than one lights, then the lights stop working or dim. Separately their work fine even my laser and fog. Dmx channels are set correct. Does anyone have a idea.


  39. When using QLC+ how to you get the green light to work as transmitting as it does on Freestyler. For some reason the yellow light flashes but not the green. I was wondering if it was a fix that someone has figured out.

  40. Hi, I’m having a problem using a FTDI board (like this×500.jpg ), I’m sending data from freestyler, Vixen or any other and without to connect the board to my fixture (an arduino getting the signal) when after few seconds the TX led stop flashing (stop sending data). I tried to use on Windows 7 x86 and x64, Windows 8.1 x86 and x64, and XP x86. I don’t use RS485, just the DMX TTL signal on my arduino to dimmer some leds. I also tried to change to an older driver version, but it not solved. Anyone had this problem?

  41. I have a question. On QLC+ how to you control it remotely. I saw how you add the -w or web command line into the target file. It seems to go anywhere with me. Is there another way or how does this way work. Many of the lights I have are turned away from me and I can’t see what is going on. Any suggestions on this matter.

  42. HI, A friend me today tested this out and it worked well with M-PC but the problem we discovered is that the UART an so the RS485 is missing the DMX Start byte which is an all zero byte in front of all Data bytes.
    You can solve this problem by using only the DMX Channels 2-512 and keeping Ch1 on 0 allways but is there anyone who knows a better solution?

    • Do you have a ‘Break’ at the start of your packet? I have a similar issue where what I thought was my break didn’t seem long enough, and the ‘mark after break’ was too long. It turned out that I actually didn’t have a break at all, and what I thought was my break turned out to be my start frame. Still no idea how to resolve this.

      • Well i think we had a very long break which was still inside the dmx requirements and the followed some space and the data packets starting with the one of the first channel.
        However in another measurement we discovered two breaks right after another. Which could be a problem because after the first break a dmx device could think here follows the first data packet with a whole lot of zeroes which pat extremely long and tv it could probably hang up broadside its missing the end of the packet. Or it could reset itself and just ignore the second break.

  43. HI and good day

    Have three wall washer DMX connection with XLR-3pin, but this have DMX address write into device, the seller say me i need DMX coder?.
    But if possible read DMX address? I think have RMD extensions.
    Please Help.

    BEST REGARDS and agree

  44. Hi, I can’t get my DMX to work properly. I have an USB to RS485 interface that looks exactly like the one mentioned, except that it doesn’t have a production date. Also, it has a ZT485EEN instead of the 75176, but looking at the datasheet that shouldn’t make much of a difference.

    I’m running Mac OS X 10.6.8. on a 2.16 Intel Core Duo MacBook Pro. The interface connected to a TTL DAC48 (

    First I tried D-light. It found the interface and the RX light started flickering. However, I did not get any DMX on the DAC48. I tried the soldering fixes (lifted pins 2 and 3, connected both to pin 8) but still no output.

    Then I tried MiniStageConsole, which found the interface after I installed the VCP drivers. It gives me some sort of output, but it’s a bit strange: the RX led only goes on when I move a fader. At that moment, the DAC48 also receives DMX but it won’t output the correct value. Actually the voltage out seems pretty random: while moving the fader, voltage output goes from 0 to something between 0 an 10v but it doesn’t stay there, it goes back to 0. Sometimes 0% on the channel fader gives me 100% output, sometimes it’s the other way around.

    I can’t get QLC to work, apparently my processor is too old for it. Chameleon gives me an error when trying to load the USB interface.

    Any ideas, suggestions?

    Thanks in advance,

  45. Hi, Great article, I like the style it’s written.
    Maybe iyou can also explain how to build a DMX client as well, e.g. a RGB led controller.
    Set DMX address with dip-switch and use a channel for each color.

    • i am “working” on a arduino DMX interface/client for a rgb panel. however it may stil take a while…

      • Thanks for the reply!! I took your comment and info into conciderarion and finaly found a ftdi chip that is sort of based on rs485, and it seems to be working(dmx picked up by light, just not sure if signal sent is correct) thanks so much!!! Board i used:

        Will email finished product when im done and happy!

        • That is by far the best board i’ve seen for this dmx project, I’m really interested how it turns out and looking forward to seeing your finished adapter.

  46. Good news bad news, good news it works absolutely perfect when I plug a light in and control the light, bad news is as soon as I plug in multiple lights the lights start to behave erratically – I ruled out all cables and eliminated lights as well. Not sure what it is! Any ideas anyone? Going to add a DMX Terminator on Monday to see if that helps. And thanks Steven! I’ll add the photo of finished adapter as soon as I know it works!


  47. so I finally got to test it with the martin software.
    i dont know how but I think I have fried my board 😀
    I doesnt flash blue anymore and the PC is not recognizing it.

    • First of all its daslight not dash. Secondly don’t use daslight we’ve been using it and it is carp. Some error messages only come in french. Start using M-PC by Martin Professional it’s not as simple as daslight but extremely powerful and works well with this interface. It also works with art net if you are up to building your own art net node with some raspberry pi. You’ll love it.
      If you also have some midi controller like the bfc2000 by behringer your show is going to rock.
      I’ve been using this for a dance show at my school and it was so much more fun dad stupid daslight.

      • great to hear, i’ve heard/read many good things about M-PC. I also got the bcf2000 but havn’t had time to explore M-PC yet :'(

  48. First of all, Thank You Steven! Great idea for diy lovers, and dmx users.

    Mine board was very identical with yours, except production date.So it wasn’t worked at the first time. It needed only ft-prog modding. Changing the C2 value to Sleep worked. Now I am able to test our lighting equipment without carrying the light mixer.

    I will use it as a side staff on stage (theater) lighting when it is necessary. Using with a simple software like DMXstudio64 is enough for me and it is working fine with the adapter…
    I have entered the arduino area last week (it is because of you:) Now I am thinking about wireless transmission. What about those parts:

    do they work? I have no idea yet.

    • thanks, i’ve looked at the wireless system… i think it could work but you have to 5v power your dmx receiver from another source (batteries/adapter?)
      You may run into problems with the maximum baud rate… the wireless system may not transmit fast enough.

  49. Hi, my interface was working but now it seems to be messed up, the functions in freestyler do not correspond to the functions in the lights. Could you help me?

      • thanks for your answer Steven, i found the problem. My fixture has 4 channels: 1=dimmer, 2=red, 3=green, 4=blue. I don’t know why, but the freestyler is showing the dimmer channel duplicated, so i got 1=dimmer, 2=dimmer, 3=red, 4=green, 5=blue. therefore, my functions are suffering a one channel offset. Do you know how can i correct this?

        • Without being familiar with freestyler. You can probably manipulate the fixture.
          There are usually fixture presets for different device like scanners and moving head.. There is for sure a fixture editor somewhere.

  50. Hi,
    I tried it out, works perfectly! I had to reprogram the adapter (setting C2 to sleep# did the job), works like a charm! I use QLC+ on Ubuntu 14.04; I plan to use this to build simple animatronics and light effects for our Halloween displays.

  51. Heya,

    I just build the same as explained. But have an issue with QLC on MacOS. Everything works fine with Freestyler on Windows (after the “C2 = SLEEP” fix), so I was guessing that it should work without any other modification with QLC+.

    Do I really need to modify the board to get it work on Mac?
    Note that QLC+ recognize the board as it prints its serial number.

    Thanks for help and thanks for sharing this tutorial! 🙂

  52. Hello,

    i have make also a dmx dongle but i have a error. my dongle work on my bootcamp windows 7 but not on my macintosh hd. what is the problem?

  53. Hi Steve. Great tutorial here! I luckily found the ft232rl board in my country and have ordered it one for this project and will receive in two days. Only wondering if it will work with QLC+ on Win7 laptop?

      • Received the board yesterday. It did not work out of the box. It has SP485E chip so I jumped across to fix with 2nd solution and it worked!!! It really workrd smoother than usb-dmx box I have before(it was not compatible with QLC+)
        Well, will be used on live apllication next week and will let you know again.
        Thanks again for the great idea(which save my money lol)

  54. in list for “devices to build and test”. I’ll let you know and thx for the article.

  55. Hi Steven,
    Thanks for the idea. Great. Worked right out of the box with dmxcontrol 2.12. No problem at all.

    • That is by far the most creative case i’ve seen 🙂 I don’t really like you translating my tutorial even with references since this will cost a lot of visitors/money. i may add a google translate button though.

  56. Hi i have tried everything i can but m,y board isnt even being recognised by windows, i installed the driver linked but i still have the little yellow triangle in device manager saying FT232R USB UART and nothing i do gets it to recognise or install, tried on windows 7 win 7 x64 & win 8.1 please help

    • It could be the case of fake chip where the manufacturer sets wrong USB PID 0x0000 instead of 0x6001. The the official driver won’t install since it does not recognize the board.

      In that case head over to and download the driver and use this driver.
      Then use the FT_PROG to reprogram the board with correct PID.
      And then it should finally work as expected with official drivers.

      I used this process successfully when my PID was zeroed during reprogramming the C2 to #SLEEP.

  57. Hi Steven, So I’ve had a lot of fun with your tutorial, and built the unit using FTDI232 chip and the half duplex transciever as you had in your guide. The dmx dongle works perfectly, but with some lights and with longer chains, I experience flickering with my diy unit, where boards like chauvet obey 70 produce no flicker. I used terminators, right cables etc. so went and did some research and found that Enttec/DMX king uses a little “timing microcontroller” to remove flickering problem. Any idea which microcontroller that might be?? I really do enjoy your tutorial btw!!

    • I am also having the same problem with bigger universes and chains of lights, I also use all . There is no flicker when one light fixture receives dmx (the larger chain is still plugged in, just one fixture has values to it). Once I have dmx values to all channels the flicker happens. Didn’t know if a resistor would help, or there being a microcontroller to have a clock in it to help flicker. Thanks for the awesome project and the help that you have already provided up to this point.

      • hmm, there are a lot of different fixes available in this post and it’s comments, maybe you could find a sollution there.

  58. Amazing tutorial, loved it and have bought everything to make it, I will let you know how I get on. One question, could this be used to control multiple universes? Or am I right in thinking it would need an additional controller for this?

    • you can only send 1 universe per device, however it should be possible to use multiple usb adapters for different universes with the right software of course.

  59. Hi!
    Thank you for this tutorial/article!
    I made an adapter, but I have a problem, and I don’t know why is thios happening. I’ve bought a converter from e-bay similar as in the article.

    The issue I have is I that the adapter stop working after a time. Sometimes it works for 15-20 minutes, but most of the time it’s only 5-10 seconds. While it’s working it controls the lights fine with freestyler and olc+ too, and the kmtronic dmx test program show that it’s fgood too.

    But after a time, the RX led stops flashing, and the controlling doesn’t works after that. The freestyler and kmtronic test sw even freeze, and only force close helps (qlc+ is running after this fine, but can’t send control commands to lights). If I unplug from the usb and reconnect again, it’s starts working again for a random time. It does this even without a dmx cable attached. I’ve tried several different usb cables, uninstalled/reinstalled drivers without any improvements.

    I’ve tried the software fix method mentioned in another article setting C2 to SLEEP#, and even trying to change the usb string, but it seems to me, that the programming isn’t working, because when I reconnect the adapter and start the flashing software again, it shows the original values everywhere.

    Maybe my adapter is bad, having malfunctioning components on it?

    The chips on it are this:

    FTDI 1412-G


    Any tips?

    • hmm, weird… could you disconnect the xlr connector & try again, maybe it is shorting?

      • Yes I tried that, it does this with only the USB plugged in and nothing else connected. I’m thinking about doing the other fix, lifting the 2nd and 3rd legs on the SP485EE. I have some soldering skills, but I have never done smd yet…
        Do you think I should try that fix too, or should I try some other things before (there’s a chance I will screw up the soldering thing)?

        • these fixes will enable output… you should only try these if there is no output at all. in your case it randomly stops working so it may be a faulty device but you should at least try other computers/drivers… can you post a link to the device you bought?

          • I’ve tried it on a notebook with Windows 7 64 bit and a desktop computer with Windows 8.1
            Today evening I can try it on a desktop comp with Windows XP too. I’ve only tried the drivers included in windows, and then the driver downloaded from Are there other drivers around?

            I’ve bought this one:

            It’s not a really expensive device, only the time is a factor, it took about 3 weeks to arrive, so if I can make the one I have work somehow, I don’t have to wait weeks for a replacement.

            • should work then… i would say the chip is faulty., maybe something in your dmx chain shorted & damaged the device or it just came broken. i cannot help you any further i’m afraid

    • I am having similar issues on with a board recently purchased from DealExtreme. Did “solution 1” to get it to output DMX data and it will work for 20 seconds to several minutes before all processing stops. Running on Windows and not seeing errors in the event log. Tried with several different computers, so will look to purchase from a different source and see if it is just a bad fake.

        • I read through all the comments, but my apologies if I missing something in them about what specifically fixes the random stop issue. The whole soldering/chip thing is really new to me and I may just be missing it. I broke one of the tabs on the chip when I was lifting the pin so I cant try “option 2” and it wouldn’t take the reprogramming so I am ordering a couple others to see what happens with them.

          Either way, thanks for the time spent on this and sharing with the group. Learning a whole bunch fast.

          • If your device stops “randomly” after a few minutes, there’s a good chance that you have more than 1 driver enabled at the same time. At any time, there can be only 1 driver driving the RS485 bus, and all other units shall be in receive mode with their driver disabled !
            Failing to do so causes the drivers to enter current limit protection, affectively stopping the communication.

            Check the datasheet of the RS485 chip for the “enable” input and make sure it is set to disabled for all units except the one connected to the computer.

            Good luck!


  60. Thank you for your help!

    I will try with some other (older) drivers, and on a win xp computer, maybe I can make it work. If I cannot succeed, then I will order 2-3 other ones, they’re not that expensive, and maybe I’ll get lucky and find a working one if I order more 🙂

    • this board will NOT work since the chip is not a FTDI chip, the title is misleading. the chip on this board will work the same as a FTDI FT232 however the chip used for this board is from another brand meaning it will NOT work for sending DMX.

  61. Having exactly same problem here with same devices, please report if any success!

  62. I plugged the usb to rs485 in my computer with windows 7. this works but sometime the signal is gone and i don’t have a flashing green light on the converter.
    I tryed the converter on 2 laptops one with windows 7 and one with windows 8. On the laptop with windows 8 the converter don’t work. The green led flash short on the laptop with windows 7 as i start freestyler. freestyler says “open failed”. Can i download drivers for windows 8? The driver on the laptop is the driver from the Enttec site.

    I hope you can help me.


    • you should always first try the default windows driver, if those are not working you should download ftdi drivers from enttec or the ftdi website.

  63. Hi steven, you recommend in terms of reliability and security ? This post or the post ethernet cable.
    Thank you.

  64. Hi there i want to translate this article for my web ( with link on your oreginal) + i want to translate a pages with solving a problem… so I ask you for premision of you for that.. because it will be realy usefull…

    • what language will you translate to, what articles do you want to translate & what website will it be posted? (concerned about loss of visitors)

      • I will translate it to Czech language( i will get a link on start of article for those who speek english so you will lose maybe a little potencional visitors but most of them will do not know what are you writing about)

        I will translate just this article USB-DMX-DIY ( maybe i will found something else usefull for my page…. then i will write to you again)

        I will use it for site wich will be focuset on free lyric projection SW and free light controling SW (for noobs and that people who are not good in english)…. and it will be preaty usefull include some cheap HW solution for DMX ….. name is in disputes because it is not only mine page. sorry i can give you more info because now i do not know more now.

  65. hi there, nice project.
    one hint for mac users: QLC+ on OSX 10.8 or 10.7 will only work with Driver version V 2.2.16. The last one from ftdi is 2.2.18 and doesn’t work properly. Since Osx 10.9 uses his own driver, sometimes using an old ftdi driver will help.

  66. I just realized a very weird thing – when using FTPROG for changing the PID (see my earlier comment above:, the new PID persists for only one “power cycle” of the device :-O.

    – connect device with PID 0x0000 (and let the driver install using the modified INF from the link in my earlier comment… check in Windows Device Manager that the PID is really 0000)
    – run FTPROG, change the PID to 0x6001 (FTDI default) and program the device (Ctrl-P in FTPROG)
    – exit FTPROG
    – disconnect the device
    – reconnect the device (and let it install the driver again, this time for the correct PID 0x6001… check again in Device Manager that the PID changed)
    – disconnect the device
    – reconnect the device… and see that it installs again the PID 0 driver and that it has PID 0000 in Device Manager again… :-O

    Anyone sees any reasonable explanation for that?

  67. Does it run hot? have installed it in a cardboard box, Dont want it to catch fire

  68. Hello I’m in need of help
    I followed the tutorial and everything is working perfect, I love how easy is to control my lights now, there is one problem that I found. When using the usb device and connecting my computer to my power speakers a annoying noise comes through the speakers. It sounds like a ground noise, I’ve tried using a DI box to cut the ground noise from my computer to the speaker but the noise still passes thru. Once I disconcert the usb cable the noise stops. Is there any way of solving this ?

    • hmm, never heard that problem before… you can try plugging your laptop in another breaker different than the powered speaker’s. I once fixed this by plugging in my laptop in a ungrounded plug, not the safest thing to do but it was my only solution.

  69. When I tried my usb-dmx-dongle for the first time, Win7 installed the drivers automatically and told me that it is ready for use (it was recognized as COM port). In Freestyler I could choose the dongle as well and the green LED flashed. I was happy.
    One day later I wanted to try Freestyler with the dongle but it was not recognized (only red LED). Win7 wanted to install the drivers again an told me after some seconds that there is no suitable driver. In the hardware manager the dongle is listed under “other devices”, is called “FT232R USB UART” and marked with a yellow triangle (driver not installed). What goes wrong? Please help me…

    • That sounds similar to the problem I described on 3rd May (see above) – can you check in the properties of the “other device” if it possibly shows the PID as 0x0000?

  70. Evzen, indeed it seems to be the same problem:
    The modded driver seems to work.

    • indeed, this is the windows driver bricking your device by changing the PID to 0000, i will add a guide on how to fix this soon.

  71. Hi Everyone! Anyone here experienced unable to program or change values in their device using FT Prog? What is your solution?

    I am trying to change Product Name and doing the Wrong Board Fix.

  72. Thank you very much for sharing this info. Saved me a lot of money and it works like a charm. Combined with QLC + this is a winner!

  73. Not working, tried all the fixes. when i start a software a green led start to flicker, but i have no output signal.

  74. Great project. Thanks for taking the time to do such a great job with documenting the steps. It works great!

  75. Thanks Steven. My device has arrived, Im ready to try, put the wires and pray so this can work. I will keep you inform. Best regards from Mexico

  76. Would it be possible to change this so it could receive dmx data instead of sending it – thanks

    • Could work if you find a RS485 Adapter that has out&in terminals, however I don’t think there is any software allowing DMX input via RS485. I once used an arduino to read DMX signals…
      DMX Shield :
      DMX Libraries are available, I once wrote a program that stored all values to SD-card(record whole show) but lost the code :s.. it’s stil programmed in my arduino tho.

  77. Hello Steven,

    Thanks a lot for this great DIY tutorial.
    I’ve just received my FTDI and XLR’s from

    When i connect the device to my Ubuntu Linux laptop and run QLCplus, the device is recognized. QLC calls it FT232R USB UART and says ‘Device is functioning properly’
    But it also says ‘no input compatibility’ (in Dutch ‘Geen input ondersteuning’)

    When i try to assign the device to a universe, I get the following message:
    Error occurred while opening the selected device line. Possible caused by a incorrect system configuration or no compatible input/output mode.

    Am i doing something wrong?

    When I connect the device to a Windows-pc with Freestyler, the green LED starts blinking as soon as I select the device.

    Thanks for your help!

    • Hmm, haven’t tested the device on ubuntu yet, QLC should definitely support this device. maybe a driver issue? I’m sorry I cannot help. However the device seems to work in windows.

      • Hi Steven. I looked through the replies here and I couldn’t find any with my issue. On the dongle I bought, I found that it has both the FTDI and the MAX485 chip. It doesn’t transmit. I tried it on both QLC+ and Freestyler and it shows up on both, but no data is sent. Should I try the pin-shorting fix or just buy a new dongle? Thanks in advance.

  78. Ok, thanks for confirming. I should have read the notes and comments here a bit more carefully before buying. Time to shop again! Once I get the right board I’m going to 3d print a little enclosure.

    Thank you for your great resources Steven. Much appreciated.

    • I’m sorry :s however I’m very interested in your 3D printed enclosure, you may always send me a photo if your build is done 🙂

      • I bought a different board, this one:
        but it seems to have a counterfeit FTDI chip and now it’s bricked! Bad luck again, haha. I’ve just sent a message to the ebay seller to see what he says about this.

        This was my the little test box I designed before even getting the board.
        The inside dimensions will need to be slightly adjusted for the size of the board I end up using. #6-32″ bolts will be used to hold it shut. Originally I was going to have a wire running out each end (to a USB and a DMX plug), but since the board has the USB type B connection on one end I’m going to adjust the case to work with that so the next version will look more like this:

        • Great design, I’m sorry you bricked your device, there are multiple ways to unbrick a “fake” ftdi device.. i am also working on a guide but i cannot seem to brick my devices manually so it’s very difficult to make a guide without having to unbrick a device myself

  79. Just got mine and set it up. My lights are going crazy. WIndows recognized it and installed the Enttec driver fine and Freestyler recognizes it.

    But I plug my scanner in and it starts twitching, no matter what I do. Unplug DMX and it’s fine. Red light is on and the green lights blinking. The chip says FDTI on it.

    • First try with only 1 fixture, i would recommend a simple par-can, then you can add fixtures to you chain until you find the fixture that corrupts the dmx signal, or you could try using a dmx

  80. hi

    i need Help, it doent work what can i do, can you work on my pc and see what im doing wrong

    • at least try to explain your problem, i will not take over your pc (if i have to take over everyones pc who cant read… i would have to quit my job). try to explain your problem and i will try to fix it by commenting.

      • Ok. i have done everythig that you say but when i plug the dmx, doenst work and the testing program dont find. the only light tha it shows is blue

        • open your pc’s device manager… maybe the driver is not installed.. can you post the name of the device? you can find the name by removing and plugging it in again, you can then see what device gets removed and added to the device manager.

  81. it shows

    • There is your problem, the PID is 0000 and should be 6001… your device has been bricked by the original FTDI Driver… you should look on the internet for a ftdi unbricking guide… I started creating a unbricking guide but i cannot seem to brick my own device… did you install the driver from the ftdi website or are you using the windows driver?

      • hi
        know i shows on my pc and freestyler see it but when i plug one led par do strob efect, the sane apen when i run the dmx tester

        i did what dis video says

        • you probably should go with the soldering fix posted in this article, some boards need this fix to send dmx

  82. sir i bought a usb to rs485 here in the phil the thing is there are only 2 terminal positive and negative only there are no ground terminal

    • could you post a link with a close-up photo of the board? then I can see if it will work or won’t work. thx

  83. I could fix the PID of my device to 6001. Unfortunately the connected RGB-Lamp does not show any reaction.
    I am afraid it is too difficult for me.

    • hmm, it should work. there are 2 fixes available for devices not sending dmx out of the box.. you should try the soldering fix.

    • ch340 chips don’t work as far as i know, but you can always give it a try.

  84. Is it possible to add an activity led indicator to the enclosure ? Where can it be connected ?
    Thanks !

    • Great to hear fix #1 still works after unbricking your device, I wasn’t sure it would work anymore

  85. I have problem with qlc i can set a 50hz it is autoset on 30hz is there way how to change it? ( also it say often that timeing is bad) is it problem or not? ( few seting in qlc ) dmx tester look ok…. ps i can chack it if it is ok ! 🙁 i will coonect it soon but not now

    also qlc+ often freze out(after rx diode stop flashing)

    and i proofed that is not problem of qlc+… also dmx tester fall of after 15 minutes does this mean i have to use one of your fixs?

    same hapen in freestyler…but maybe it is beause it is not conected or long (2meter) usb. i checked all values in fixes( c2 does not stay at sleep) there is no shortout just nothing… i have no other posibilites. any ideas?

    • hmm, there are 2 fixes available, have you tried any? also the internal wiring from the board to the DMX plug should be as short as possible and try twisting the data- and data+ cables. Also first try with only 1 fixture in your DMX chain, if that works try adding more fixtures. i’m using freestyler @ 50hz and it works just fine…

  86. it is wierd i tried to use fixes … shortet jumer 5v and tx and eeprom… but both (eeprom does not change) does not work… it work for few minutes ( with a lot of fixtures) and then stop…. it is problem of chip(a clone of it)… it freze out(somehow) but when i reset chip(by conectig 4rd and 5th pin of ft232rl chip and qlc+ start responding again and after reassuming output start working again

    P.s. i bought it from ebay(wich you have here. Maybe seller give me software to change c2 to sleep and it is true abot driver killing

    • hmm, the chip killer driver is real indeed, however the fake chip producers found a way to block this driver from bricking a fake device by blocking access to the FTDI chip settings. this also disables c2 sleep mod i think but not shure

  87. yes it is real (and it realy disable c2 sleep mod ( be sure) but maybe they will make new driver to screw your day(and stop it working in midle of tx) … i can try another driwer ( now i am trying 2.8.30 for win 8.1(still it is dogy

    i also try to do some setings in driver set flow control on hardvare or xon/xoff not much help ( in stability)

    Maybe it is just faluting chip (because on one try it hold over 1 hour on deflaut setings and newest driver. until i pluged of (with at least 12 ch )

    it is wierd

    ps. Do you you mean a lifting or shorting jumpers is not same like doing it on that chip? ( i look on traces and they hopefully go to 5v and TX jumper)

  88. I did test on linux ( in terminal) same result.. but now i was able “detect ” what hapen after freezeing out of rs485 …. and that was brutal data coruption on eeprom ( instead serial number was a lot of bullshit.) so that is a problem 🙁

    can you recomend me a fully working board(on win 8.1and qlc+) around 10 usd?

    • ok, so it’s your board thats the problem. I have a second guide creating a DMX adapter from a USB->RS485(RJ45), or you could try ordering a new board and do the “pin lifting” directly without trying ftprog.

      • just to be 100% corect— when i restart chip it work again(for random time… but in linux qlc+ does not freze out that much and that is what i see

        • and sorry my stupid “typo” i mean in virtual instead terminal (sorry 🙁 )

  89. Hallo Steven,

    A while ago I bought a USB to RS485 converter from ebay via your link. When the green light converter which was flash but who went off again after a short time. Now I have the USB to RS485 converter ordered Extreme (via your link) Deal, I still downloading certain drivers (or something else) that I connect the converter?
    I hope that it will work with this converter.

    Een poos geleden heb ik de USB naar RS485 converter gekocht van ebay via jouw link. Bij die converter ging het groene lampje knipperen maar die ging na een korte tijd weer uit. Nu heb ik de USB naar RS485 converter(ook via jouw link) van Deal Extreme besteld, moet ik nog bepaalde drivers downloaden(of iets anders doen) voor dat ik de converter aansluit?
    Ik hoop dat het met deze converter wel gaat werken.

    • What is the name of the device under device manager (apparaatbeheer)? can you select the device in freestyler dmx or any other software?

      • In device manager i have: ”USB serial converter” and ”USB serial port (COM3)”.
        In Freestyler i can select the device, but after 3 seconds the green light goes off.

        • Have you done any fixes to your device, there are 2/3 fixes available on my website… first you should try the ftprog fix, if this does not work you should try the “soldering” fix

  90. Hey, because this is a simple unbuffered interface, i would like to know what specs the pc has to have. would 2-4gb ram and an i3 or an i5 work?


    (sry for my bad english :D)

    • you should not be concerned about pc specs, raspberry pi’s can send dmx(even 8 interfaces at the same time), i also once ran dmx of a 1.1ghz laptop so no worries with freestyler :p

      • okay, just wanted to be sure ^^
        thanks for the quick reply

  91. Hi Steven, Thanks for the tutorial! I’ve connected the chip and i see this in QLC+ running on a mac.. .The chip has one red LED lit. I have also disabled the driver in mavericks using the Driver Control tool. My fixtures aren’t receiving a signal from the chip, do you have an idea of what could be wrong? Thanks in advance

    • download jv lighting control free from the mac store and test again, please report if any fixtures react to jv lighting control. Thanks

      • Thanks Steven. I’ve downloaded it but still no luck it says DmxStatus: Offline.

  92. Tell a lie, it now recognises the usb adapter but the fixtures aren’t responding..

    • in jv lighting control make sure to disable “B.O(blackoug)” and drag the “master” fader to 100% and try again.

  93. Hi steven i bought this one and is working….

    and i see a curios thing there is two shorded pins (as i remember i try to short some pins to get continuos work. maybe that was that case that was working for me)
    and i ataching a diagram ( be careful of that hole a lot of time is leters in other orientacion then on diagram ( you can test it by shorting reset and vcc) so maybe this is a another fix( for those wich get it work for few minutes and then it fail)

    Ps a AGDD+test pin are conected to maing ground ( GDN + PWR Led (a GDN side)

    Hopefuly this will help

    • Great find!! I will add this as an extra solution to this tutorial and see if there are others confirming this fix working.

      • hopefuly it will be confirmed i am still not conetced to lights ( i do it for someone ) it seem to working rx diode flash (and if i conect headphones into output i am able to hear signal) so it should work for many hours but acuracy of system timer is bad(as qlc+ say)

          • just a quit report…. it seem randomly unstable….. but it seem oposit to previous model…. ( like once working for few minu and most case it is workink four hours)

            ps please chceck if your chip have same pin shorted…. it still could be a potencial fix but it is maybe on all boards…… as most sucesfull fix i recomend ask ebay seller for refund and buy a oreginal ftdi chip unsolder a fake one with heat gut ( a stronger hair fan ) but people should protect plastic jumpers with some Alu-foil and that solder oreginal…. plus try a ft-prog after that

            Better chceck that is absolutly working will be in september but i mean it is ok…. i sendig some dmx values into… nothing and it seem stable


    • No, this device is to advanced to build yourself, This device also uses a special protocol to communicate with a PC (daslight…)

  94. Hello, I bought the converter from the first link (eBay). When I plug it into my computer, a red power LED lights up. When I check the device manager, the device is recognized. When I open freestyler, under Entec Open DMX, I can only select a device named ‘Fault’ and when I do that the RX LED starts flashing. I can’t currently test with a light fixture but because of the ‘Fault’ message I doubt if things will work. Is this a common error? I searched through the comments fast and I haven’t found anything similar.

    Very nice project, but very very annoying that you never know if you’re getting a working chip when you order it ,but that’s ofcourse not your fault! So thanks for sharing this 🙂

    • you could try on another pc first or using other software, haven’t heard of freestyler showing “fault” as a device yet :s

      • Ok, so I tried to look into the device using FT_Prog. One thing I found was that there was no serial number, it only said: Auto-generate. I tried to change the name of the device to USB -> DMX Interface to see if that would work out. I then reconnected the device and checked, the name hadn’t changed even when the programming was finished according to FT_Prog. But anyway, I saw that there now was a serial number given and tried another time with freestyler, where I can now select the right device without a problem.

        I don’t know what happened, but the problems are fixed for now. It seems I can’t change the name but that’s not really a problem. I will try to get my hands on some fixtures asap and hope that from there on everything works fine.

        • Great to hear it’s working, i guess you got a fake ftdi chip that was updated/fixed to prevent being bricked with original ftdi drivers.

          • So I finally got my hand on a pair of scanners. First tries result in nothing…
            I tried to FT_Prog the device but I can’t change the C2 pin to sleep, I guess
            I won’t be able to change anything to my chip. I’m going to try soldering now.

            One thing that concerns me is when freestyler is booted up, the RX-led starts
            flashing, that doesn’t seem right, as signals should be sent and not received.
            What does your device do when it’s used? Any special LEDs flashing, and the RX?

              • Sorry for my late answer! Yes, FreeStyler found my adapter from the very beginning. I had to lift the DE/RE pins from the board and now it WORKS! As soon as FreeStyler opens up, the green RX led starts flashing and I have control over my lights!

                Will send you a picture when I built it into a box. I am also thinking about upgrading the device by adding an extra PCB with optocouplers to electrically isolate the USB/RS458 board from the actual fixtures and add a second DMX-out plug so I can run 2 different DMX-lines without having to use an seperate dMX-splitter.

                Any thoughts on the schematic?

                • Hello, first of all great to hear your adapter is working. secondly adding optocouplers is a very neat extra protection feature however i’m more interested in the DMX splitter schematic. The schematic very clear and I’m interested in hearing your progress if you decide to build the splitter.

  95. I build it just the way it is explained in this article and it works. Thanks mate.

  96. Hi, I was just wondering… I need this hack quite fast and I was wondering if you guys knew if the adapter I enclosed in the link is a good one. It says FT232RL and as I’m not a real techie I don’t know if the RL is good or bad news. Also, in the description it says compatible with windows 7 max, does that actually matter? Cause I use windows 8.1

    Thanks in advance!!

    • the compatibility does not matter, the link you posted is also the right device. keep in mind i cannot tell if or what fix you will need.

  97. Hi Steven , thank you for teaching this. The device is working but not as expected . It feel like not stable, while i send a dmx signal with value more than 124 (red colour) to my LED light it will effect the green colour which at the next channel to flash for a while , and if i ask me LED to strobe it wont hit its maximum speed. anyway to increase the stability ?

    • you can try freestyler.. you can lower the “cycles per second” value… by default (correct my if i”m wrong) the 512bytes are send 50times per second, you can lower this value in freestyler to 20.. could you try that and report back? thanks

      • i’ve lower down the refresh rate to 20 and tried the solution which short pin 26 and 25 of the ftdi IC both doesnt work for me . 🙁

      • While value of channel 5 (RED on my led par can)changing it effect channel 6
        while value of channel 6 (Green on my led par can) changing it effect channel 7
        while value of channel 7 (Blue on my led par can) changing it effect channel 8 (white)

        The value of 124 is the brightest for R and G and B. Value lower than 124 is working normally , after 124 it might trigger the other channel as i mentioned above , and the brightness is darker.

        Channel 2 (strobe on my led par can) no matter what value i put it wont strobe as fast as i expected , i assume 124 be the highest value but it also doesnt work as expected.

        • I’m sorry to hear, have you twisted the data- and data+ wires from your board to your xlr, it may be interferrence related but not sure. could you try and see if it works any better?

          • my device is working on pin2-Data- , pin3-Data+ , pin1-GND. But i’ve tried to swap the wire and also twisted it but both not working. i saw a solution that lifting pin 2 and 3 of the ic 485 and short to vcc but i haven try yet hope that it work.
            Thank you so much for ur swift respond.

            • I hope you get it working after the last fix. in most cases one of the fixes will do the trick

  98. Hi! The article is excellent, thank you very much !!!
    I have the following question: On my mac “JV Lightning DmxControl” sees the device up and running with it, but other programs refuse to work (QLS +, DMXis, MagiqQ.) On windows in the “Freestyler” work simple instruments (ParLed) but moving heads – no ( only responds to pan and tilt). On mac “JV Lighting” works with ParLed and moving their heads , but not enough for me 24 channels ( ( ( Please help !

    • hmm, weird but your device is sending dmx for sure.. you could try lowering the refresh ratio in freestyler’s settings(where you select Enttec Open DMX) and try again, you could also try twisting the Data+ and Data- wires to prevent interference.

    • Bro, everything is fine ! I’m just an idiot , I did not look all fixes in advance. thanks bro. Everything is working!!!

  99. Dear Steven, awesome post. I’ve bought the same board as you and I can get it working but not for long…

    When I plug in the device its lighting up the green power led and rapidly flashing the RX led (like its supposed to). I can control my lights without any problem with QLC+. But after a few (random) seconds the RX stops flashing and I lose all of my control of my lights. After a few seconds the RX lights begins to light up again and I regain my control of my lights.

    Some background information:
    Tested on Mac, Yosemite and on Windows 10 (via bootcamp on my mac)
    Using QLC+ 4.10.1 (on Yosemite and windows 10).

    On Yosemite:
    I’ve disabled the Apple FTDI driver (via the solution on this page) and downloaden the driver from the FTDI-website. QLC+ says that the device works correctly and my signal is GOOD.

    On Windows 10:
    I’ve installed the (automatic) driver from windows when i plugged the device in for the first time. I tried it but QLC+ said: patch widget to universe. Then i’ve installed the driver from the FTDI website, and it worked (for a few seconds). QLC+ said: connection is GOOD.

    Every time I reconnect the device to my computer its works (RX light flashing) for a few seconds and loses connection (RX light not lighting).

    It also seams the case with a FTDI breakout like this one. I’ve tested this on Yosemite as wel as Windows 10. (
    It was fairly cheap (4 euro’s) and i think this is also a fake FTDI chip.

    I’ve read this entire blog and found out that ‘ZOOL’ on 4 april 2015 had the same problem: the connection shuts down after a few seconds You suggested that the board was broken (of a chip malfunction). But I doubt it because the same thing happens with my FTDI breakout. Sadly he has not responded that his new board have worked. (that it was indeed a chip malfunction).

    Also Pepe wrote about this (I am Dutch and had trouble reading his post). He noted that de TEST and AGND pin are shorted. (Maybe it is know) I’ve read the datasheet of the FTDI chip and thats the way its supposed to be (for normale operation). I’ve checked 4 different FTDI chips and all of then have this.

    Pepe is suggesting to short the RESET and VCC pin (as I read correctly) but this won’t change the way the devices are behaving.

    I don’t think that I’ve bricked my devices because both work (for a few seconds) and I get a DMX output.

    I am planning to buy a genuine FTDI chips from a trusted reseller (for 10 euro in the Netherlands) and replacing the fake chip with it. Would this work? I could not find out or this solution has worked for PEPE.

    I need this to work within 2 weeks (for a party) and I don’t have the time to wait for a few hey boards to try it with.

    So, should I buy a genuine FTDI chip for 10 euro’s (still way cheaper than any other DMX interface) and replace the fake chip or is there another solution.

    Again: Awesome post and helped me a lot, but now i can’t find any other solution, so i hope my contribution will help others in the future.

    • first of all I cannot guarantee that the genuine chip will work, however what you are doing is building a copy of a genuine enttec open dmx so i’m still petty sure it will work, it’s weird that you can control your lights for a few seconds, could you try freestyler dmx on windows, you can try to lower the dmx refresh rate in the settings.

      • Thank you for your reply. I’ve tried freestyler but the board is still very unstable (I haven’t tried to change te refresh rate yet, butt I will soon). Also i’ve tested it on 2 other computers (windows 7 and windows 8 with QLC+ and freestyler) but the board is stil unstable. I can’t figure out what is going wrong but I suspect the boards or de fake chip:
        Yesterday I received another board via Ebay. This board works much better! It still fails but only after 30 – 45 minutes (instead of seconds). Very weird. I checked the marking on the chips but I can’t find any differences. All the 3 chips (even the one that is working most of the time) have written:


        I’ve ordered a genuine chip, I hope I get it before the weekend. I will let you guys know if the chip replacement will work. Also I will try to change de refresh rate. Hopefully I can get my devices stable.

        • have you tried all fixes yet? including the soldering fixes these usually fix the problem but if you are getting a genuine ftdi chip.. they should still be able to send DMX

          • No I haven’t tried all the fixes yet, really busy at the moment. I’ve soldered the genuine chip and it works perfect! I had a testrun of 3 hours and it kept working. Thanks a lot! When I have a little more time I’ll try the other fixes for the other boards I have.

            Printing on the working chip:

  100. Hello, I have a problem with the FT232RL board.
    My pc installed all the drivers automatically .
    When I open Freestayler detects the plate and RX LED flashes for about 15 seconds. Then this LED goes out and when I set some light emits no signal and no LED lights either . Also when I close freestayler I have to disconnect the plate because it is labeled or close.

    I would appreciate help.

    Excuse my English is not very good

      • Dear Steven , I read but do not serve me solutions. welding the chip did not understand .
        I managed to turn on the LED bins freestayler but Eentec protocol only 10 seconds the RX flashing light and then turns off lights and not moving more !!! .
        With another protocol such as DMX4 and configuring the port COM11 , if the RX light turns on but no cans .

        Sorry for the inconvenience caused by me. Thank you!!!

        • Hi Diego, I think you have the same problem as me. I solved it by desoldering the fake chip (the chip that was on the board when you received it). (1) Desolder the chip using a heat-gun: heat up the chip until the solder is liquid, then lift up de chip using tweezers. (2) Clean the pads on the board (use a lot of flux and wick). (3) Buy a genuine chip from a trusted reseller (i have paid 10 euros for 1 chip). And solder the new chip to the board. Make sure your chip is perfectly aligned with the pads when you apply solder. (4) Test with a multimeter if there are any pins shorted, if not you are finished … and hopefully your problem is solved.

          You may want to watch some videos on how to (de)solder SMD chips (it helped me a lot). Good luck

  101. Hello , I bought 2 more of the board and none of them is programmed in FT_Prog (. The unit is determined “FT232R USB UART” , but after the change and Programming , re- defined as “FT232R USB UART”

    • we are unable to program fake ftdi chips if they were produced after this ftdi-gate thingy… you should try any of the soldering fixes these still 100% work

  102. Parts are ordered. I am wanting to use MadMapped on a MacBook Pro for running LED strips. Any idea if this creation will work with it? I am not sure how up to date the info is but in this article,
    the 2 compatible interfaces mentioned are Enttec. because this $10 interface uses an Enttec driver am I crazy to wonder whether it will be recognised?
    Thanks for the wisdom

    • i’m using madmapper for 3d mapping video’s/lines on walls//buildings with my projector… its a great software but i wasnt able to get my dongle working yet (but havn’t tried that hard) Please let me know if you get it working but if the software supports enttec’s open dmx it should work with this device 🙂

  103. Hello
    Is it possible to make dmx controller, that flashes the lights when pressing the button?

    Like when the button is down the lights are on and when the button is up the lights are off(strobe effect).

    I realize that there must be correct channel “programmed” to the button that would work in with correct lights but that is what I search for.. just flashing the lights with single button

    • so if i read this correct your would like to make some kind of stand-alone midi controller that uses some kind of arduino to transmit dmx values whenever you press a connected button? is this correct.. i may have some extra info for you then

  104. Dear Steven. I have solved my issue concerning the FTDI and MAX485 chip and now my interface works perfectly. I got the FTDIDriverControl application and disabled the FTDI driver. Instead of desoldering the connections I noticed that there are small plastic connectors/jumpers protruding from the board, and after closer inspection I noticed that they connect the FTDI chip to the MAX485 chip. After following the signal path I noticed that the RX jumper was conflicting with the TX signal path (which I found was responsible for the DMX signal) and removed the RX jumper. This allowed for the connection and the RX indicator turned on, sending the signal to the laser connected to the output. But, the signal was sent for a few seconds then terminated for another few seconds, indicated by the laser and the RX indicator. After much thought, I realised the USB cable I used was faulty. After replacing it the signal became stable.
    Thank you very much Steven for this amazing build, saving me a lot of money.
    Early 2015 Macbook Pro 13″, 128GB SSD, 2.7GHz i5, 8GB RAM
    10.10.5 Yosemite, QLC+ and Lightkey demo

    • are you saying you could just unplug a jumper instead of desoldering the pin? :p that would be amazing!

      • Yeah! Just unplug the 2 middle jumpers that connect to the DE and RE pins. Keep in mind, the jumpers are only connected to the left side of the 8-pin chip. You can also use the unplugged jumpers to interconnect the pins because the space between them is small enough to short-circuit the pins, and you can short circuit the ‘send’ pins from the FTDI chip or the ‘receive’ pins connected to the 8-pin chip.

  105. Hello, I have a problem with my dongle:

    It works very good and most of the time without any problems, but sometimes, when I am in a gig and I control the lights in a cue with Freestyler it just stops. I can’t close the freestyler software until I unplug the usb cable. Then I have to plug the usb back in and restart Freestyler. Then it works again. It is very annoying when it crashes. What can I do about this?

      • Tried on another computer, same problem.
        The problem is that when I have Freestyler running it just stops sending DMX after a random amount of time (seconds to minutes to hours, but mostly 1 or 2 minutes) I can’t close the software until I unplug the dongle.

        I tried all fixes but had some problems:
        1. When I try to program it and change the C2 option to SLEEP# it says “Finished Programming” but when I scan it again nothing changed. Like I don’t have the permission to program the chip?
        2. Tried the soldering, without working result
        3. Tried the “NEW UNTESTED FIX” but also without result.

        I see in the comments more people with my problem. “Hans” replied to that:

        “You will probably have two RS485 drivers active at the same time. In general only the USB-RS485 converter should be driving the DMX signal, all other DMX products should only have their receiver enabled, and their RS485 driver disabled. In most cases this is a hardware input to the RS485 chip, and when left unconnected (open) the behaviour of the chip cannot be predicted. Check the datasheet of the RS485 chip and make sure that the driver is disabled.”


        “If your device stops “randomly” after a few minutes, there’s a good chance that you have more than 1 driver enabled at the same time. At any time, there can be only 1 driver driving the RS485 bus, and all other units shall be in receive mode with their driver disabled !
        Failing to do so causes the drivers to enter current limit protection, affectively stopping the communication.

        Check the datasheet of the RS485 chip for the “enable” input and make sure it is set to disabled for all units except the one connected to the computer.”

        I don’t exactly understand what to do? I was looking at the datasheet but I don’t understand how to disable the drivers. Can you (or Hans) explain that?

          • When I plug it in a USB port I haven’t used before, it looks like its is working. So thats why I think the solution from Hans Verstraelen maybe should work. Do you know what to do?

              • Yeah, just for a while. I want it to work also on other computers because I can’t take this computer to gigs. How do I disable the drivers like Hans Verstraelen said?

                I also tried using a dmx terminator… No result.

              • Hi Stephen – I haven’t seen any definitive solutions to this problem, unless I’m missing something. I have the exact same problem – the dongle works fine for a short while (testing on Beamz moving heads) and then just gives up. Also, Freestyler will not close unless the USB port is disconnected. On starting Freestyler, the message “Universe 1 interface: Open Failed” is displayed, even though the device is fully recognised in Setup and all the correct FTDI drivers are installed and working.

                How does one ensure that only one 485 driver is enabled? And has anyone come up with a definite solution for this?

                Also, the device I have seems to work best when the RX jumper is removed..

                Thank you for this guide – it has at least got me to try to DIY!

                • Please ignore the “On starting Freestyler, the message “Universe 1 interface: Open Failed” is displayed” paragraph. This message is due to the unused universe (Universe 2) not being set to “Virtual Interface” in Freestyler.

                  The USB-DMX interface worked perfectly for 5 minutes this time. Then… nothing. 🙁

                • please try using a powered usb hub to power your controller, this may fix your problem 🙂 let me know…

    • should just work (512 channels per device), I looked into the example. the library supports multiple devices however the example will always take the first device it can find. you can modify it to work with multiple devices & send your 1024 channels. The example will work with this device.

      • none as far as i know, but having 2 separated DMX512 chains will add up to 1024. not ideal but because he’s programming his own controller software he can make it work pretty smooth i think.

  106. Hi Steven, Everything seems to work fine now ( i ordered from the first ebay link, i contacted you on facebook before)
    However when I open Freestyler or Q Light Controller Plus the RX LED flashes for about 15 seconds, sometimes more sometimes less. And my DMX Laser seems to work just fine!
    But after that period of time the RX LED stays off and nothing works anymore, then Freestyler wil crash when i try closing it (It will only close when i disconnect my board)
    Any ideas?

    Ik ben Nederlands dus u kunt ook in het Nederlands antwoorden 😉


  107. hey, I bought one off amazon, when i open qlc+, some stage lights flash and fade at random intervals, any known fix?

      • yes, i installed the drivers manually and installed the driver control program, the module receives power, but sends random, uncontrollable dmx signals

        • the newest solution is just terminating your dmx chain, is your chain terminated or could you try?

          • New problem, the signal i send, is received, but it leaves and comes back at random intervals. until it eventually stops. and does the same thing every time i restart the program.

  108. Hey there have a strange issue manually installed all drivers, wired correctly and connects to freestyler
    the rx light blinks power is on ….. strange thing is that it doesn’t work might be my light but i don’t think it is
    also the chip freezes after about 1 min

  109. I made it! Just had to manually install drivers, but it’s awesome. It also cuts out after random periods of time. Will be trying powered hub asap. Thanks so much for the guide. Now I just have to learn how lighting works…

    • great to hear it’s working, let me know if the powered hub fixed your problem 🙂

  110. Hi Steve… Great tutorial! I have a question though before messing with the fixes… I picked up a correct board (amazon) & the female XLR… Wired up as shown… then went and installed Freestyle & 3d view… from there I plugged in the dongle, it installed the driver automatically and seemed no problems, I think.. But, instead of getting a yellow, green or blue light I get a flashing red on the TX side… connect a fixture then flashing red light on both TX & RX… seems everyone else seems to have blue, green or yellow flashers so, not sure if red means error or not… Is the simple fact that if both are flashing, regardless of the color, mean its working correctly… yes?

    from there I ran Freestyle for the first time, when setup came up it shows up as available, selected it, saved and went into FS… but I’m thinking the flashing red lights are probably wrong so from there I tried the from the dmx device tester the first time it said:

    DMX Adapter Found
    Set Data Fault!
    Set Baud Rate Fault!

    From there I thought maybe reversing the wires real quick… did that and found that I did it correctly the first time as switching them and put em back… And then figured I do a quick machine restart, sometime helps when making drivers really stick sometimes… after restart plugged it back in and same… both TX & RX still flash red… So I ran the dmx device tester again and it said:

    DMX Adapter Found
    Set Data Options Successfully!
    Set Buad Rate Successfully!

    Though none of my lights have fixture definitions, Should I assume flashing red lights on RX & TX and a thumbs up from DMX device tester mean that it is up & running correctly?


    • to start, the color of the flashers depends on the batch the chip was made, hmm, have you tried using an externally powered usb hub? seems to fix many problems 🙂

  111. I have a powered external hub and it is the same on either… That’s probably kinda more of the simple question maybe… Are the status LED colors supposed to stay the same, depending on batch… Like I said, seems some people have yellow, orange, blue or green as their status colors… Kinda curious if the status leds are multi-color… or.. one color for STATUS OK -or- display an alternate color for STATUS ERROR…

    Have been trying to write up a simple custom fixture definition for one of my cheap Chinese lights but so far nothing… can’t even make any of them simply turn on/off …but no luck yet…

  112. Hi there,
    Nice tutorial – I love it!

    I already ordered one from Ebay but I then came across this:

    Could this work in theory? I would get it much faster via my relative who works for a company.

    I am just worried about delivery time form China being soooooo long. I just got my DMX lights and dont want to wait like a month or so anymore.

    Any thoughs?

    • hmm, not sure if it will work, this adapter has a RL Chip and the chip i’m using has the RL version of the chip. I cannot 100% confirm it will work but you could give it a try.

  113. Thanks for all this great information!
    Ive got the system up an running, from from LightJams software thru RS485 board, and into this little DMX decoder board ( and finally into a WS2812 strip.

    Everything works perfectly, for about 2 minutes…then it locks up and freezes. If I unplug/replug the USB it comes back to life for another few minutes, and the cycle continues…
    Sounded like some others further up in the comments had similar problems, but I couldn’t understand what the possible solution might be…. any ideas?

    • hm, you can try plugging the usb adapter in a powered usb hub, also try terminating your dmx chain.

      • I have exactly the same problem with an adapter I bought on ebay. It works for a couple of minutes or seconds. And the no DMX data is sent anymore.

        • did you try other software/laptop, terminator or powered usb hub. also try usb 2.0 ports if you have any, it was a fix for a few peoples already.

  114. will it work on the normal old DMX Controller software itself ?

    • if the “old” dmx software supports the enttec open dmx adapter, it should work.

  115. This is all very interesting, I’ve actually been looking to learn how to make any old light into a dmx controlled light, particularly (though although simply for educational purposes) for the reason of grouping many spotlights in some sort of matrix to make some DIY audience blinder/light organ. Any insight on where I can start with this? Thanks!

    • I once made a DMX receiver with arduino, it has a special DMX shield with sd card slot.. example code is widely available.

  116. On my adapter, the connectors are marked GND, A, and P. How does this correspond to the guide?

    • Not sure but I would say P would be +”positive” and A should be negative.. you can try switching these if it doesn’t work.

    • I’m guessing the P is just badly printed B…

    • I have exactly the same adapter from ebay. I figured out that A ist positive DMX+ und P is negative DMX-.

  117. Hello, I’ve tried this with a little success. I can control my lights for about 3-5 minutes, and then the dmx light stops blinking and the lights stop working. I have made sure my usb has power constantly and even used a powered usb hub. Again only about 5 minutes of working time. Also, if I open sound to light in freestyler it pretty much shuts it down automatically. Any help would be appreciated.

    • you could try terminating your dmx chain, did you try another computer or other software?did you twist the data cables?

      • Okay, I found where you spoke about twisting the cables, I will try that and different software tonight. I will have to make a terminator, as I do not have one at this point.

        • I heard some success stores when using a terminator, not sure what other free software you could test, anything compatible with enttec open dmx

      • I’ve got the same issue and an terminator at the end does not help. I also can not exit Freestyler unless I uncouple the the USB/FTDI chip.

        • Not sure what the problem is, you could read the comments, there are a lot of useful comments. I’m sorry

        • Ive been having the same issues and have yet to find a solution that works. I use LightJams software and it does the same thing, cant exit the program until i pull out the FTDI chip. I am about to give up with this $10 FTDI chip method, and buy the $50 Enttec Open DMX widget instead.

          • You could read the comments below, there are many useful comments/solutions in the coments

    • Hola, este tipo de problema lo tuve yo cuando fabrique mi primer conversor usb dmx, y después de acabarme la cabeza con todas las soluciones propuestas, encontré que el problema era el chip FTDI que había adquirido “resulto ser una copia china” este chip tenia una especie de bloqueo en la eprom que no permitía hacer cambios o ajustes y se reseteaba cada x tiempo.
      Después de adquirir un chip de una empresa conocida todo anduvo a la perfección, cuento mi experiencia por que muchas veces agotamos todas las soluciones sin pensar que todo radica en lo principal que es el chip.

  118. I have tried a different pc. I have not tried other software. I will do that tonight, what free software do you recommend besides freestyler? I am not sure what you mean by “twist the cables?

  119. I can confirm the fix from pepe makes my device last longer (not tested if it keeps sending all the time). But its quite difficult to solder it right. On another board I soldered PIN 24 (NC) to the other two by mistake and this devices seems bricked. Also i noticed that the refreshing rate is also a factor! If you lower it down it will last, at least, longer. Maybe i didn´t soldered it good enough so that it will work always. Also i noticed the same thing with the drivers as mentioned in earlyer comments. Im not sure if some other device takes advantage of the driver at some point and i don´t know how to test that.

    i buyed this board

    It is equipped with a original FTDI FT232RL and a MAX485 CSA +1502… I read something above about MAX chips won´t work, but its definitely sending DMX output.

    Furthermore one thing i was not able to test yet, is the powered USB hub. Maybe this is also a Factor but i don´t think so. The USB itself should provide enough power to power such a device.

    I will write another comment if it keeps sending all the time!


  120. I have got an device with FTDI FT232RL and an MAX485 CSA 1502 and it stops working after a short time sending correct DMX data. Soldering pin 26 and 25 together also didn´t solved the Problem. Is the MAX485 the problem?
    Any suggestions would be great!

      • Hi Steven, yeah i read them.. Otherwise i wouldn´t have shorted the two pins 😉 i can confirm that the device lasts longer but it won´t stay sending the whole time. Maybe its a power issue but i don´t think so cause the board is specified to consume about 2,5W. An USB2.0 and especially a USB3.0 interface should handle this easily. I will test the Powered USB hub fix if i can get one^^
        Do you think the MAX 485 is the problem or did you see any devices working constantly with this chip?

        • btw…. the same things happen to me as in the comments above. I cannot clouse DMXControl until i unplug the adapter. But thats only the case if it sudenly stops sending DMX…. weird thing.

          • ok steven… Pepe is absolutely right. i received the same device from the UK with Pin 25 and 26 shorted and it worked out of the box. Thats the right solution. i think the only thing why my other device didn´t worked is because i was not able to solder it right…. my soldering iron was too thick i think….

            But for all the ones with an FTDI 232RL and a MAX485… try soldering PIN 25 and 26 it will work if youre able to short them!


            • Could you report if you were able to fix your other boards using this method? it would help me and others a lot.

              • Hi steven,
                i were not able to fix my two boards. i think i soldered pin 24 to the others by mystake. You have to solder so precise, that i was not able to do it with my soldering iron. You need either a better soldering iron and more skills or luck that you don´t mess it up. But im convenienced that this fix will work, at least one of the broken boards works works longer as bevore so maybe i only didn´t soldered it good enough….. I will try it one more time at the Weekend.


                • Big Thanks for the info already!! I will update the website after the weekend 🙂

                • Did you cut the pins before solder? Pins 26 and 25 have to be in contact with the board or not?

                • I do it lifted and no lifted and there´s no difference, still randomly fails.

  121. When I first got my board it only worked for short periods of time (30 or so seconds).
    Did the FT Prog fix and changed C2 to SLEEP# and it works perfectly. Thanks for the awesome guide Steven.

    • I´m not be able to write with the ft_prog, is your ft232r chip original?

  122. Hi

    I made it as well by a external USB Hub mentioned in the above FAQ.

  123. Hi. I also get random stops. Sometimes full functionality for some minutes or sometimes just half a minute. The sending DMX light on the chip goes off in the same second. The device works again by removing USB and plugging it back.

    Ive tried:
    – 2 different computers, both running Win10 however.
    – Different fixtures
    – Different FTDI drivers, the latest, what windows wanted at first.
    – C2 sleep method which doesnt work (it wont save as sleep)
    – 2 different chips, both FTDI ft232rl bought from ebay (different vendors) One of them is supposed to functon with x64 system.
    – Tried different wiring (TP and not TP). Soldering it together again.
    – Tried both DmX controller, Freestyler, QLC+. All work as above no different.
    – Ive removed “power saving option” from USB.

    Ive not tried:
    Soldering fix (but doubt it since my device is sending DMX)
    Powered USB hub.
    DMX terminator (dont think its the problem)
    XP computer might work better?

    My win computer is not grounded, some electrical interference that disturbs the chip and make it reset?
    I have and old fridge/freezer in my apartment. Even more electrical matter?

    Please help. Or maybe I should try the other guide with ethernet cable..

    • I can not give you a clear solution to your problems, I’ve heard a powered USB hub did fix the problem for some.

    • Hi Arvid, did you find a solution for this, I’m having exactly the same issues as you are describing.

  124. I have installed freesstyler the stable version.
    I connectes my showtec par lamp.
    The interface is recognized in my hardware as an fdt…..
    If I choose entec opendmx and ftz3r usbuart The soft ware is not responding the way I would like.
    When I choose an usbdmx device I can see it is connected to com 8.
    Very hopeful.
    Now I can turn the leds glow red green lila or other color I think.
    When I click a possibillity the hardware responds. But not the way I want. It is then red , later green .
    Is my lamp from showtec to new?
    its a parcan 56 short from showtec. It is responding but not as an entecc open dmx .

    Who has the tip

    • hmm, the DMX protocol is the same for all fixtures, looks like you’re having some interference problems. did you try twisting the cables from the board to your female xlr adapter?

  125. Hi everyone.
    I’m running OSX El Capitan 10.11.4 and JV Lighting DMXControl and QLC+.
    I’ve built the device as required, and also sorted out the drivers. When I plug my device in the red pwr and red rx LED’s light up and stay solid. Both software recognise the status of the device (JV automatically connects it and I only have the option to assign it as an output to a universe in QLC+ and have done so) however I can’t get any output to a simple RGB LED parcan i’ve plugged in. I’ve tried putting a terminator with an LED built into it and the end of the chain and that lights up.

  126. Hi, have you got more information about the 8 universes version that you show in the photo?
    thank you very much!

    • He is using a raspberry pi with a usb hub. then connected 8 adapters and assigned a universe to each… not sure what distro he is using.

  127. Just wanted to say that this worked perfect for me.
    On the begining win10 drivers didn’t worked but then I installed FTDI drivers and it started working.
    Later the DMX Signal randomly stopped but it was fixed by using a powered usb hub.
    Now is working perfectly.

  128. Hello, Steven!

    1st of all, a big thank you for this your gift to the DIY community, and just a bigger THX you’re still supporting it!
    the 4th year, isn’t it? ????

    Well me too had to try this.

    Just months ago I ordered, looks exactly like yours.

    weeks ago found the time to set things up:

    seems to work ootb with qlc+ @ ubuntu 16.04 (realtime kernel),

    But: my one and only (cheap) rgb LED PAR reacts to RGB & dimming, but flickers all the time ????

    research here & webwide found only one or two others with THIS prob. But no solution yet.

    I am a technician but new to DMX – wondering from the first correct -ENTEC- driver selection, that also the green (tx?) LED is flickering all the time – just before any fader movement. Is ths normal behaviour?

    I’ll check out other PC with windows and other fixture as soon as I get one, but for now:

    Sombody here has any advice?

    thanks again


    • Try using a usb hub that solved all of my problems. Also you should use DMX cables instead of microphone cable if you’re not doing that already. And yes it is a normal behaviour the green led flickering.

  129. Hi guys, just bought a board like the one in the tutorial, and installed the d2xx drivers. Freestyler detects the board using enttec open dmx, and after opening the freestyler I see it transmiting dmx, but as soon as I select a fixture, the board stops sending dmx. Tried everything like unplug, change frame rate from 50fps to 30fps… nothing solved.
    Mitsai kubo 2 Mini pc stick

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